Old Map of Madras Harbour In British Era 1884

Old Map of Madras Harbour In British Era 1884

Old Map of Madras Harbour In British Era 1884

An old and rare map of Madras Harbour in the British Era of 1884. A French origin map of the Madras Harbour in the British Era of 1884. The port of Madras had not even a pier until 1861. Masulah boats ferried ingoing and outgoing cargo that was dumped on the beach rather haphazardly exposed to rain and pilferages. Many of the top-rung British merchants protested these unsatisfactory conditions.

The first person to suggest as much as a pier was Warren Hastings in 1769, as a member of the Fort St George Council. His idea was a pier projecting into the sea from the beach in Madras (now Chennai).  But Hastings went away to be the Governor General in Calcutta and his plan was put on the shelf for a century. But a Captain Lennon of the Madras Engineers in 1798 came up with a suggestion.

Not not only for a pier but a closed harbour. Notwithstanding, this too was in limbo for quite some time. Although there was a breakwater scheme in 1836 which ended in a fiasco. The subject of the pier did not seriously arise again not until the 1860s. A “T” shaped screw-pile pier was actually built in 1861. Undertaken by a contract company that was partly owned by Parry & Co. It was a flimsy structure though it was 1000 feet long and 40 feet broad. It only went a little way in solving the problem, because of it being an open jetty. The “T” shaped jetty was open to the vagaries of the weather and the sea.

Predictably the worst happened in 1868, a French sailing ship had just been driven in a storm cutting it through the pier. Putting it out of action for 12 months. At the time the railways were emerging at a rapid rate in the city. What use were the railways without a harbour. This spurred the requirement for a closed harbour. It was then decided to build a pair of breakwaters. They ran parallelly to one another and then curved around in pincer formation to leave an opening of 500 feet enclosing the pier. Which is seen in this old map of the Madras Harbour. Notice railway tracks running onto both the breakwaters in the map. The other two maps pictured are that of Cape Town and Reunion Island. Click on the photo for better view.

Did you know – Sir Francis Spring arrived in 1904 as the chairman of the harbour which he found it a depressing sight. But by the time he left in 1919, it became a full-fledged port. Today Chennai port is one of the busiest in India. 

From the collection – 1964 M. Suriyamoorthy Charcoal Art Abstract (#13)., 1914 Daring German Warship Emden Visits Cochin Photos., Electric Tram In Chandni Chowk Delhi, Postcard 1910., Aerial View of Bombay Harbour & Docks – Old Print 1931.

The images are of the actual items from my collection. And Not a photocopy, pirated, reproduced, stock photos, or taken from other sources.